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State reports 1st human case of West Nile virus

Pantagraph - 6/20/2018

June 20--SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) on Wednesday reported the state's first confirmed human case of West Nile virus for 2018.

A Chicago resident in her 60s became ill in mid-May, said the agency.

"Because the case occurred earlier in the season than we typically see human cases of West Nile virus in Illinois, IDPH requested additional testing by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and we received confirmation on June 19," said IDPH Director Dr. Nirav D. Shah.

The first human case of West Nile virus in 2017 was reported on July 20. Last year, 63 counties in Illinois reported a West Nile virus positive mosquito batch, bird and/or human case. During the 2017 season, IDPH reported 90 human cases, including eight deaths.

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a Culex pipiens mosquito, commonly called a house mosquito, which picks up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Common symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches. Symptoms can last from a few days to a few weeks. However, four out of five people infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms. In rare cases, severe illness including meningitis or encephalitis, or even death, can occur. People older than 60 and individuals with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for severe illness.

Precautions include:

-- Making sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings.

-- Eliminating, or refreshing each week, all sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed, including water in bird baths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old tires, and any other containers.

-- When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR 3535 according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.

-- Report locations where you see water sitting stagnant for more than a week such as roadside ditches, flooded yards, and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.

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(c)2018 The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Ill.)

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